Last week, the state of Texas executed death row inmate Robert Ladd for a 1996 murder. Robert Ladd sent us the following letter shortly before his execution.

Last November, we published a letter from Ladd as part of our "Letters from Death Row" series. Ladd's case drew attention in large part because his attorneys argued that an IQ test showed him to have an IQ of only 67, which would make him too mentally impaired to be executed. Despite pleas on Ladd's behalf from the ACLU, courts rejected this argument, and Ladd was executed last Thursday evening. Ladd was the sixth of our death row correspondents to be executed since our series began.

Below is Ladd's newest letter to us, dated about three weeks before his execution. A few points:

  • As with his previous letter, Ladd had help writing this letter, due to his mental disabilities. It's not explicitly stated which words are Ladd's and which are those of someone trying to help him put his thoughts into writing.
  • The "Atkins v. Virginia" case referred to in the letter is a 2002 Supreme Court ruling that executing the mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment.
  • Much of this letter consists of a list of individuals and organizations that Ladd says did or did not try to help him. We are not taking any position on his claims. We are publishing this letter unedited. As far as we can tell, it is Robert Ladd's last public statement.

January 5, 2015

To: Hamilton Nolan/ Gawker Media

Dear Mr. Nolan,

With the help of alot of good friends and some thought I decided to write you once more about this unjust justice system and some of the leaders here in the good old state of Texas, I have written to alot of people asking for help I am not asking anyone to come and save me from this unjust system I am asking that the leaders of this state and organizations and others just look at the system and how it clearly is circumventing the Atkins, issue Atkins v. Virginia all in the name of their justice of (REVENGE) because it's surely isn't justice under the law, I have asked my now fired lawyers Mickelsen & Broden to go to the media and let people know about the injustice but they failed to even fight for me and in the back of Robert's mind he think that his lawyers was working with the Ag. Attorney General's office again he ask for help not for anyone to come and save him just look at what Texas, is doing, I want to give a list of the people and organizations that he has written

[List follows]

All of these newspapers have did reports on the death penalty here in Texas but yet they wouldn't give an interview

[List continues]

The point is he couldn't get any lawyer to really help though Mrs. Danalynn Recer, (32) would help but have a small office and can't or (33) Jim Marcus, would help but his office is full as well, I think Lee Kovarsky, (34) of the TEXAS DEFENDER SERVICE, will help and I hope that James Huggler, will help but the point is the leaders of this state don't do much to help people in jail especially death row but if I had a case where alot of other leaders and former leaders would campaign for than all kind of leaders of the state would come out to help Robert, it's not really about him but the issue of executing the mentally retarded. I have said time and time again if some people who don't have an interest in the case look at all the info and say there is not a case for mental retardation and I PROMISE THOSE PEOPLE THAT I WOULD NOT FIGHT ANYMORE JUST LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE. It's clear that the judge in my case R. Schell, and the 5thcir. are clearly BIAS in their opinion again this is about REVENGE and justice, I AM VERY, VERY, SORRY AND HAVE ASKED FOR FORGIVENESS A MILLION TIMES I KNOW THAT GOD, HAS FORGIVEN ME AND AT THE END OF THE DAY THAT IS WHAT MATTERS.

Thank You

Robert C Ladd


The full archive of our "Letters from Death Row" series can be found here.

[Image by Jim Cooke]